Friday, July 10, 2009

Get in the truck, buddy

Who would have thought that trying to catch a cab would turn into a sweet little adventure. But things like this are always happening to me.

I was alone and confused near downtown Minneapolis. I kept calling the cab company, but the taxi driver simply could not find me amidst the road construction where I was waiting. My accent might have elevated the degree of difficulty.

A middle-aged woman had been observing my dilemma. “Where are you trying to go?” she asked.

“South Minneapolis.”

“My husband is picking me up. That’s where we are going. Want a ride?” She pointed to a pickup that had seen better days twenty years ago. There were shovels in the back.

My first thought was: “they’re going to take me to the woods and kill me.”

Instead of running away, I heard myself saying, “Many thanks” and crawling into the front seat, which was filled with clutter. Once shut, the passenger door would not re-open.

I couldn’t snap the seat belt so the husband leaned over and snugged it up tight. Yep, I thought, they are going to kill me.” The shovels in back took on ominous potential.

Casually, wanting to be in control, I described how to get to our house. “No,” the husband smiled, “that’s not the way we are going to go.” Now I was certain they were going to kill me.

I began to study their features so I could identify them in a police line-up, should I survive.

To my great relief, I was still alive when we meandered back streets and got to my block. But I still couldn’t get the door to open. The husband had to come around to the side to help. “So, this is how they will do it,” I thought. “Krav maga don’t fail me now.”

My mistake. They were Minnesota Nice personified. During the ride home, we made small talk where I learned she was a physical therapist but her real passion was singing. Once, she had appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion.” The ride duration was too short to learn the husband’s story.

They were just being nice. Seeing a stranger in distress. Offering to help. I don’t know if they were Lutherans or not. Never even got their name. But I did offer them a safe-conduct pass should they ever come to Texas. They can pick it up anytime; they know where I live.

They were just being nice.

Pass it on.

7 comments:

The South Plainsman said...

I know a lot of nice folks from Minnesota.

A little crazy, perhaps, but nice.

Escaped Waco Alive said...

You sure they weren't just softenin' you up, gettin' your confidence, so that the next time you get lost and ask for help your guard will be down and they can then wack you without any difficulty? Them Minnesotans, they're crafty that way.

Ken Martin said...

Some people will do anything to get fodder for a blog post, eh? But it's a good yarn, so worth the danger.

This tale reminds me of the question I used to ask myself when I was in poetry workshops many years ago: Is life just an excuse for gathering material to write about? Works for me.

deborah howell said...

Deborah Howell: I lived there 25 years and Minnesotans are really nice folks. They help you out. Wait until you're stuck in a foot of snow. All those folks getting out of cars with shovels look like angels.

Escaped Waco Alive said...

Come to think of it, how do we know that they didn't kill you (i.e., Geo. P.) and assume your identify for some nefarious reason (probably so they could gain control of your blog...you know that evil doers will take over important means of communications in advance of or coterminous with a coup, in this instance, a Minnesotan coup).

Damn, I think the heat down here is getting to me.

Anonymous said...

You've seen "Fargo" once too many times, George. We don't ALL drive around pulling wood chippers.

Anonymous said...

I have only met two people from Minnesota.One of them wanted to go to my room with me and have some drinks.--Goose

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